Thursday, October 8, 2009

I am caring for myself FIRST so that I am better able to care for others

Putting Yourself First
Daily Self-Care

'We have all heard the instructions of an airline attendant reminding us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help anyone else with theirs. This advice is often cited as a metaphor for self-care because it so accurately expresses why it is important. It seems to say, ironically, that if you can’t take care of yourself for yourself, do it for others. Few situations in our daily lives mimic the wake-up call of an airplane emergency, so it’s easy to keep putting self-care off—easy, that is, until we get sick, overwhelmed, or exhausted, and suddenly don’t have the energy to care for the people who count on us. That’s when we realize we haven’t been getting the oxygen we need to sustain ourselves. We begin to understand that taking care of ourselves is neither selfish nor indulgent; it’s just plain practical.

Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else in order to say yes to yourself. For many of us, there is always something we feel we could be doing for someone else, and it helps to remember the oxygen metaphor. You can even encourage yourself by saying "I am caring for myself so that I am better able to care for others" or some other mantra that will encourage you. It also helps to remember that self-care doesn’t have to be composed of massively time-consuming acts. In fact, the best prescription for taking care of yourself is probably small, daily rituals; for example, taking one half-hour for yourself at the beginning and end of the day to meditate, journal, or just be. You might also transform the occasional daily shower or bath into a half-hour self-pampering session.

Whatever you decide, making some small gesture where you put yourself first every day will pay off in spades for you and the ones you love. The oxygen you need is all around you; sometimes you just need to be reminded to breathe.'

I was reminded today by my courageous sister that we can lose ourselves while trying to please others or take care of others before we take care of ourselves. People pleasing is something that many people find themselves trapped by. Our society teaches us that selfishness is a bad thing, that we need to put others first. I want to clarify... taking care of yourself first is not a selfish act - it is a vital act. one that is healthy for you and all of your relationships. How are you supposed to take care of someone if you are sick and in need of taking care of yourself first? Often we are not kind to ourselves. When we take care of others and put them first we often build up resentment toward that person... putting strain on the relationship, which in turn hurts everyone involved. Don't ever make a decision out of guilt, or a feeling of obligation. Don't listen to that little people pleasing voice inside that says 'I should do this/that...' Make decisions in your mind and your heart, do what you want and need, not what others want - if you make choices trying to please someone you are not being honest and fair with yourself. I always remind myself to never do anything that will be half-hearted, if my heart is not fully there, then I will say no, just follow what your heart tells you.
Just remember, "I am caring for myself FIRST so that I am better able to care for others." If need be, write this down and remind yourself everyday - it will help you to find balance in your choices and decisions.

1 comment:

Phylon said...

Ok, I'm entirely too tired to read this, but honey I'm going to tomorrow. I have been saying exactly this, that I need to care for myself and get good so I can serve others!!! My husband Crist actually said that to me a few weeks ago, and as I sit here right now, sufferring through some really hard stuff, I have found your blog and the Ex Hot Girl's..I'll be back. ♥ much love ♥